Jesse didn’t notice the language barrier. What baby does? He would scamper over to another child and together they’d excitedly speak toddlerese. Joy is one language that needs no translation.
But, learning Japanese did not come easily for me. I struggled to communicate and often used Jesse as my translator. I’d carry him with me into the post office or bank and have him repeat to the clerk in Japanese what I’d say to him in baby English. With a bit of imagination, the clerk and I could do our business and enjoy a few laughs.
There were many foreigners in Japan in the 1970s. Most, like me, came seeking enlightenment, that elusive state of mind where suffering does not exist. During my five years there, I sat long hours in meditation with legs crossed, hoping for freedom and longing for home.
Now forty-six years later, my legs can no longer twist the way they did when I was young. But, I often sit in silent prayer. When I think back to my years in Japan, to the places I visited, to the people I met, to the world that opened up for me, I’m reminded of Matsuo Basho’s quote, “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”
Somehow, over the great expanse of time, I got comfortable with home being wherever I was. It’s not a structure or a location; it is much less tangible than either of these. I’ve discovered that home is where my heart is at peace, which is to say that when I am at peace, I am also at home. Do you experience home similarly?